Ellie Ander of Chicago North Shore Moms & Christine McAlister of Greater Lansing Area Moms

Did you know that the Federal Assault Weapons ban bill (S. 736) will expire on Dec. 31? The time is now to advocate for safety for our children (details below). Recently, we spoke with Ellie Ander, a team member of The Local Moms Network who manages Chicago North Shore Moms, who, with her young children, survived the Highland Park shooting. Below, see how she says we can all help today, what she’s doing to prevent another tragedy, and more.

First of all, what can people do who want to join you and so many other Moms to support this Federal Assault Weapons ban bill?
According to Newtown Action Alliance Gun Violence Archive*, the United States has passed 600 mass shootings for the third straight year. If you’re as enraged as I am about the problem with assault weapons in our country, there are a few actionable items you can do:

  • Call Senator Schumer’s office at (202) 224-6542 and urge himto schedule a vote on the House-passed assault weapons bill before this Congress ends. #TheTimeIsNow
  • Join Newtown Action Alliance Lunch & Lobby Mondays
  • Follow @march_fourth_ for daily actionable items that include which state senators to call, phone numbers and simple scripts before they go into recess.

*source: https://www.newtownactionalliance.org/guns/resources/gun-violence-archive

Recently you and Christine McAlister of Greater Lansing Area Moms attended a March Fourth Rally. What was that like and why did you attend?
My personal reason for going to the #passtheban rally on 9/22 organized by March Fourth was to continue the momentum building for banning assault rifles, the same weapons that have been used in so many mass shootings across the United States at schools, grocery stores, concert venues, sporting events, movie theaters and malls. My family and I were at the Highland Park 4th of July parade not far from where the shooting began. I was motivated prior to that to get involved but unfortunately it took an event in my own community to really turn me into an activist.

I went with my good friend, Lindsay Pinchuk, and met up with many other North Shore moms while there. I also met up with Christine McAlister of Great Lansing Area Moms – what an impactful way to meet up with a fellow site curator.

Can you tell us a bit more about the experience?
I have thought about this day so much. I’m so proud to have been amongst such a strong group of survivors. I’m also extremely sad and heartbroken that so many of those survivors had family members ripped away from them due to gun violence. If I were to describe the experience in one word it would be “powerful.” We heard accounts from family members of loved ones from Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tx; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl; Tops Grocery Store in Buffalo, NY; Student survivors from Sandy Hook Elementary School and members of the Jr. Newtown Action Alliance (those students are now seniors in high school and some will be able to vote this midterm); a teacher from Columbine High School in Colorado; Oxford High School in Michigan; Pulse Night Club in Orlando, FL; Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton OH. Gun violence prevention groups have sprung up all across the country in response to all of these atrocities. It’s unbelievable to accept that certain politicians refuse to do anything to improve the safety of our children.

 

What was surprising to you about the experience?
There was one thing surprising and also not surprising at the same time. Some of the survivors met with senators who do not yet support senate bill S.736 the Federal Assault Weapons ban, and, despite all of the stories they were able to relay and all of the evidence for the ban, these survivors were not able to change the minds of said senators. Right now 50 Senate Republicans and 12 Senate Democrats are blocking the federal assault weapons ban bill from going to Biden’s desk. Biden has pledged to sign the bill if passed in the senate.

Anything else you’d like to share?
It might seem like all nothing is making a difference but activists are moving the needle in the right direction and politicians, even those not in favor of S.736, are concerned for their careers. In the words of Senator Duckworth, “Get angry. Stay angry. Let’s get this done.”

 

For More Info:

March Fourth

https://www.wemarchfourth.org

Ban Assault Weapons Now

https://www.bawnfl.org

 

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